R1b1a2a R-L23 Cohen Feuerstein (deceased)

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Managed by: Daniel Zur
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About R1b1a2a R-L23 Cohen Feuerstein

L49+ L23+ U152- U106- SRY2627- P312- P311- P310- M222- L48- L21- L2-  

R-L23 - Those who are positive for SNP L23, but negative for L51 and P310, are called shorthand R-L23. The highest frequency of this group is reached in Armenia and Anatolia, thus it is also called Armenian Modal Haplotype. It occurs from Iraq and Iran up to Central Europe in low frequencies.

The founders of the Ashkenazi population 1,000 years ago appear to have been a diverse lot, displaying a half-dozen or so y chromosome haplogroups: J, E3b, R1a1, R1b, I, and G, among others. Since the founding, however, the Jewish populations within these groups appear to have been isolated from the non-Jewish community, as few if any of the recent Jewish subsets (haplotypes) were shared by the surrounding non-Jewish population.

Ashkenazi Jews are a genetic "mosaic" containing an inheritance from the broad spectrum of Jewish founders. This is not surprising, since 80 generations have passed since the exile and 40 generations have passed since the founding of the Ashkenazi population.

Considered a major genetic genealogical achievement, the discovery of the Cohane Modal Haplotype years ago seemed to close the book on the genetic story of the Cohanim, the ancient priests of Israel said to be direct descendents of Aaron. Or did it?

Found within the Jewish R1b DNA project (http://www.JewishR1b.org), within which all members are scrutinized for CONFIRMED paternal Jewish lineage, were tightly-clustered individuals who all tested as Cohanim. Not only were all these individuals' matches beyond Y12 Jewish, but they were all Cohane. In discussions with Dr. Michael Hammer, he has confirmed that these lines are ancient, significant and were likely never a part of the Western R1b prevalent throughout Europe. This theory is shared with several esteemed genetic professionals and amateur experts. The two lines (two distinct clusters have been found) likely date back a thousand years or more, and are theorized to be pre-Diaspora. But where did these individuals become part of the Cohanim? Were they a Roman admixture? Greek? Were the early (or even original) Cohanim more than one group?

A DNA genealogist, Sean Silver, has started a project to study Jewish R1b haplotypes, many of which are found among American Jews of Eastern European descent. Mr. Silver has speculated that some of these R1b haplotypes may be of Iberian origin, entering the Sephardic Jewish population during their sojourn in Spain and Portugal and later entering the Askenazi population after the expulsion of the Sephardim from Iberia. This is definitely plausible.

Mr. Silver has identified a very distinct R1b haplotype with a DYS393 value of 12 that may have originated in either Iberia or the Middle East.

Haplotype 35, also called ht35 or the Armenian Modal Haplotype, is a Y chromosome haplotype of Y-STR microsatellite variations, associated with the Haplogroup R1b. It is characterized by DYS393=12 (as opposed to the Atlantic Modal Haplotype, another R1b haplotype, which is characterized by DYS393=13). The members of this haplotype are found in high numbers in Anatolia and Armenia, with smaller numbers throughout Central Asia, the Middle East, the Balkans, the Caucus Mountains, and in Jewish populations. They are also present in Britain in areas that were found to have a high concentration of Haplogroup J, suggesting they arrived together, perhaps through Roman soldiers.

But is this haplotype really ht35? We don't know. Its ancestral place of origin among Sean Silver's participants is almost invariably Eastern Europe - Poland, Russia, the Ukraine and Lithuania.

Could it actually be a mutated ht15 haplotype of Iberian origin? Possibly.

The top ten match frequencies for this haplotype fall among Aromuns in Macedonia, and in Russia, Turkey and Syria - but also in England, Spain and Belgium. Looking at these match frequencies alone, we could infer that the haplotype originated in the Eastern Mediterranean and was spread across Southern Europe with the Sephardim during the Roman period, and then into Northeastern Europe with the Ashkenazim later on. Or we could infer that it was originally Iberian, and spread to the British Isles during prehistoric times, and then to the rest of Eurasia with the Sephardic diaspora.

You could easily argue for either scenario. Nevertheless, the fact that this haplotype exhibits some of its highest match frequencies in known hot spots for ht35 in general - among the Aromuns, in Turkey and in Syria - does argue for an origin among the ht35 peoples of Anatolia. Tellingly, another variant of this haplotype - with a DYS385b value of 15 and a DYS389ii value of 28 - appears only in Turkey, which also suggests an Anatolian origin.